Saturday, March 29, 2008

Top 10 Things I Do Absentmindedly

I've been trying to force myself to add a new blog post for the past week, since I was doing so well for... well OK maybe it was only about 2 weeks. But it's progress, right?

I'm sitting here at work and have had only 2 calls in the past 4 hours. I feel like the blogger gods are trying to give me a huge hint that NOW is the time to blog. I really have no excuse. I mean, I can only check Google Reader and Facebook so many times.

I've been finding that I make a lot of lists in my head. So here's one to start out with -- I think this could be the beginning of a new series of posts.

Top 10 Things I Do Absentmindedly

1. Look for split ends
2. Tie my hair into knots with one hand
3. Spell every word that I think
4. Kick off my shoes, then put them back on
5. Chew on the inside of my lip
6. Sing the last song I heard over and over in my head
7. Raise my left eyebrow (I do that when I'm tired)
8. Make lists in my head
9. Log out of Gmail only to sign back in right after
10. See how long I can keep my eyes open without blinking

Well. That should give you a decent picture of the pitiful condition I'm in right now as I sit here in my cubicle, headset on, pricing sheets spread out, and too tired to socialize with anyone around me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Second-Daughter Syndrome

I've always felt there should be a book written about my family. There's something enamoring and captivating about an all-girl family -- how each daughter is so different in personality yet all are united by the unmatchable bonds of sisterhood (yes, yes, I realize I am completely biased in my statement.) It almost makes you want to "collect them all," if they were action figures, right?

I've also always imagined that I would be the heroine, or at least the narrator of the story.

Hey, before you start rolling your eyes at me, let me present the evidence for this. Think of the other stories about all-girl families you've read or heard. The most famous are probably the Bennett sisters in the much-loved Pride and Prejudice and the March sisters in Little Women. There are even the five daughters of Fiddler on the Roof (I can't think of their surname off the top of my head.) Now, who is the main character in each story? (Disregard Fiddler for now.) Elizabeth Bennett and Jo March, right? Both are the second daughters. Like me. And it doesn't end there.

You know the first daughters, Jane and Meg, and even Tzeitel? They are the role models, and always remind me strongly of my older sister, the first daughter of our family (just take the following comments with a grain of salt and humor me, Hatsuho.) They are obedient and wise and prettier and more practical than the second daughter. Thus, they don't get into as much trouble, and have the sense and good fortune to marry the first good, hard-working young man they meet. I'm not saying that my sister didn't have her share of challenges, but she has an impeccably cleaner record than me: she has never gotten a speeding ticket, been in a car accident, failed a class, gotten a detention in high school, been in debt, missed a deadline, or really been careless and irresponsible in any way. Basically, she hasn't done anything to cause my parents grief since she was a newborn, and even then I hear she was really good at sleeping through the night. Nobody really has to worry about the first daughter. I, on the other hand, have been and still am the complete opposite.

But I also like to think that I possess some of the good qualities of the second daughter: the dreamer and schemer with a love of writing, getting into scrapes but learning from them, taking risks, and hopefully in the end finding a man who adores her imperfections (another trend is that the younger daughters get married before the second daughter, and that's OK.) Now, I would be pretty happy with myself if I could also acquire Lizzie's wit, Jo's intellect, and Hodel's grace. There's always room for improvement, right?

So there you have it, some of the foolish and slightly narcissistic thoughts that go through my head as I go through this thing called life. You can agree or disagree with me, but I firmly hold that second-daughter syndrome exists, and that I am infected with it.

OK, now you can start rolling your eyes at me.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Words and Curds

I'm really good at Boggle. I say this as fact, not to boast. I'm pretty sure this is fact because I have played many games of Boggle in my day and won every time. I think there are two types of people in the world: those who can easily identify scrambled words, and those who can't. I've come across only 3 people in my life who fall into the former category. The dilemma comes when there is a mix of both types of people playing the same game. There is such an obvious and consistent rift in the scores each round that once it becomes apparent the same people are just going to keep winning, people begin to lose interest in continuing the game.

The other day at a cheese party, some friends and I (under the influence of some highly sugared drinks) faced such a dilemma and were able to come up with the following alternatives to said game:

1. "Who Can Find the Longest Word" Boggle
2. Foreign Language Boggle
3. Proper Nouns Only Boggle
4. "Doesn't have to Be Connected" Boggle
5. "Who Can Make the Highest Stack of Boggle Cubes" Boggle (However, since there are only 16 blocks to begin with, a 16-high stack was quickly achieved, much to our dismay. We decided that this version of Boggle is only for ages 5 and under.)
6. Jenga Boggle (which, of course, was invented right after the previous method. Not recommended as a time waster game, as the first person to go will always be the loser, making each round average about .5 seconds.)
7. "Shake the Boggle box as loudly and obnoxiously as you can until someone yells at you to shut up" Boggle

As we were able to quickly come up with the above methods, we became optimistic that we'll be able to compile a list of 100 quite easily. And the first thing to do when you compile a list of 100 of anything, of course, is to publish it as a book. We are quite excited about this concept and are confident it will be successful. You can start counting down the days: 101 Ways to Boggle (yes, we're even adding one extra!) is coming soon to a bookstore near you.*

*This statement may or may not be true.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Bi-cycle, BI-cycle, BI-CYCLE!

When I'm riding around town on my bicycle, I tend to look like I'm glaring. This is only because a) there is wind blowing in my eyes so I have to keep my head slightly down, or b) it's glaringly bright outside and I have to squint. People who see me may think I'm deep in thought, or concentrating really hard, or even angry at the world. What they don't know is that I'm secretly singing in my head the joyous refrain:

"I want to ride my bicycle!
I want to ride my bike!
I want to ride my bicycle!
I want to ride it where I like..."

Thanks, Freddie Mercury. I know how you feel.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Greatest of These is Charity

The other day at work I got a call from a disgruntled distributor.

"There was $100 charged to my card on January 8, 2007. I know I didn't get anything in January. I need you to check on it and get me a refund," he told me huffily.

Nobody remembers what they purchased over a year ago, I thought to myself, but pulled up his order history anyway. He's a busy purchaser... it's one of the longest lists I've ever seen.

"Sir, I'm only able to see up to a year back. I'm gonna have to go into a different program to find anything before then. It might take a while, so is it OK if I call you back when I've found it?" I ask.

"Sure," he grumbles. I verify his phone number and hang up.

I get through the series of passcodes and authorizations in our internal database system and find an even longer list of orders. I scroll down, and there it is: Jan. 8, NTC $100 Donation. I sigh and smile to myself. He had donated to the Nourish the Children Foundation to save children in Malawi and other parts of Africa from starvation and malnutrition. He can't get too upset about that.

I call him back.
"Sir? I was able to locate the January 8th charge on your card," I inform him.
"Yes, what was it?" He asks gruffly.
"It looks like a $100 donation was made to Nourish the Children."
There's a pause on the other end.
"Oh," his voice is noticeably softer, "OK, thank you, that's all." He hangs up.

I smile to myself. My heart feels softer towards him. Not a bad guy really, I think, taxes probably got him down. If only we created more occasion to remember those starving, malnutritioned children -- more hearts and harsh voices would be softened in the world.